The development of MKT Train Depot gives business owners new opportunities

BELTON, Texas (KWTX) – Crews are putting the finishing touches on converting Belton’s MKT train depot into a new commercial space.

For business owners, new development gives some a second chance and others new opportunities.

Jay Williams and his wife Christy are preparing to open a restaurant called “Railway Express Diner”.

“To end up in this building is consistent with what we’ve been talking about, which is to take you back in time,” Williams said.

The couple owns the WAT THE TRUCK food truck, but this will be their first full-service restaurant.

“We’re used to ordering pickups in a food truck,” Williams said. “With that we have to set up a seat.”

The new restaurant converts the ticket booth into a dining room and even has original floors from when the depot was built in 1899.

On the warehouse front, Andrew Johnson is on the fast track to turning a boxcar into a hot cookie company.

“For an opportunity to be born in this amazing space with all these other businesses, it’s amazing,” he said.

Johnson hit the brakes and closed the original Temple cookie shop in August.

“The cost of our merchandise has skyrocketed, the staff just making sure we have enough staff in the store has been difficult,” he said.

He said the new location will allow him to focus on a more limited menu and operate with a smaller staff.

“This allows us to be more generous in our pricing structure and to be able to provide a more accessible and enjoyable experience,” Johnson said.

Both Johnson and Williams have a long way to go as they work to get the final bells and whistles.

“It was exciting for us to host in a different way as we take the next step in the service, and that’s something we really wanted,” Williams said.

The Railway Express Restaurant opens on Friday. Warm Cookie Company should open in February, Johnson said. The MKT train depot will also be home to a bookstore bar, cafe and Puerto Rican restaurant.

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